In the world of Internet advertising, the number of "click-throughs" is all that matters. But in an industry that changes at warp speed, the way companies place ads and track results is changing, too. And "click-in" advertising could be coming soon to a computer monitor near you.
According to the Eyetrack 111 study by the Poynter Institute, the Estlow Center for Journalism and New Media and Eyetools, Inc., banner ads at the top of Web pages get barely a glance. The ads that attract the most attention are the ones that blend into the surrounding editorial content.
But placement on a page is just one thing for online advertisers to consider. The rise of online broadcasting, fueled by new technology from companies such as Houston-based WhiteBlox, is bringing a new breed of consumer to the Web.
Internet television does not bring "surfers" to the Internet, it brings "media watchers." Media watchers don't want to surf the Internet for information. They come to watch an event or a program. They have no desire to wander away from the television program, nor does the broadcaster want them to.
When tracking the results of Internet advertising, click-in, as opposed to click through, opens a new world of possibilities.
"When Internet television ads are designed to support click-in, the effect on ad tracking will be dramatic," says Greg Demetriades, chairman and chief executive officer of WhiteBlox.
Clicking through to an advertiser's Web site has always been fraught with problems, including fraud and the natural disconnect between the media and advertiser's site, he says.
Conversely, click-in ads are designed to be "micro-experiences" for viewers. Instead of visiting the advertiser's Web site, viewers are enticed to interact, if only briefly, with an interesting and engaging ad designed specifically for this Internet television environment.
While they may occasionally purchase an item, most often they'll simply request more information, enter a contest or answer a question. With each click, the advertiser collects data on the viewer and the impact of the ad, without the need for a third-party survey service.
Internet television gives advertisers marketing tools that allow them to conduct marketing campaigns in ways never imagined before. For example, they can do market research in real time, reach and engage prospects immediately, modify ad campaigns on the fly, deliver ads customized to individual viewers and process data to a detailed level never possible before.